Prince Alfred Old Collegians vs Goodwood at Webb Oval, December 7 2019

December 3, 2019

After a week off, it is back to cricket. The past week was just gym work. Strength and Power exercises with barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells as well as my own bodyweight. It was from a new package that I bought online that is supposed to improve the speed, which I hope would improve my all-round game, hoping it could add a yard of pace or two but realistically ain’t going to happen this soon.

Anyways it was good to not touch the bat and the ball that allowed me to reflect on what was a dream game with bat and ball in a winning cause. If anything it allowed me to reset as we return to action this weekend. Today though, I’m training at West Torrens District cricket club whose coaches invited me to train as I continue to experience what district cricket is like. Leading up to the season they were great. They went out of their way to organise for me to come down. I suppose having a contact in Nick Maegraith (who plays for 2nds and also had assisted my batting during the off-season with great success) made them enthusiastic about my interest which was opposite to Tea Tree Gully (who asked me to come in preseason next year) or Adelaide (who reluctantly agreed for me to join in when I clarified that I wasn’t looking for a game). I had a deep feeling that they would be willing to give me a game if it worked out pretty well but I would rather be happy if they y got me selected next season.

West Torrens are currently coached by former left-arm quick for the Repacks, Mark Harrity who gathered us around prior to nets. He said, for instance, there’s no point getting throwdowns for the sake of throwdowns, which to me, meant the ‘train smarter not harder’ principle. He seems to be one that likes to foster team spirit when he mentioned that the club’s A grade keeper has just been ruled out for the rest of the season due to injury and encouraged everyone to get around them. That meant a lot.

Nick introduced me to Manning McInerney, the club’s assistant coach who plays in 3s and 4s. Apparently, he was also at Prospect, a former club of my ex-Ginninderra coach Mick Delaney. But I never asked Manning if he knew Mick. There was no time since he had to bat. He asked me to get amongst it at training.

I eventually had a good session bowling on wickets that offered both sideways movement and variable bounce, which meant that I was asking batters questions and testing their patience. I was surprised with the amount of help I got from the wicket as I had been loading up with my hand at shoulder height which never changed since the last game I played. The only change was my pumping of the arms being naturally more free-flowing, which perhaps contributed to the constant output. I would like to think if I’m able to test district level cricketers, then I suppose the ATCA folk may not have much chance of scoring against my bowling.

Moreover, I had been able to repeatedly run in and bowl heavy balls without breaking much sweat or having to catch much breath. Even though the conditions were indeed bowling friendly with the temperatures not very high, I had just endless energy, which I also put down to a change of diet by adding nuts. Thereby I believe that my improved fitness has allowed me to dream to unlock my full potential.

I expressed my gratitude to West Torrens for allowing me to bowl in friendly conditions, and I learned from Nick that the wickets tend to a bit on Tuesday trainings. Interesting, I thought. Perhaps one day I should come on a Thursday but only if they’re keen to welcome me again. I don’t want to rock up uninvited.

December 4, 2019

My current assessment is that my bowling is in great order while my batting, in spite of the dream knock last match, will need some work. I still need to be comfortable with a grip and stance combination that allows me to freely swing the bat and deal with anything that comes my way. Thankfully, I learnt that tonight’s session was created to be a batting session only. This will allow me to hopefully decide and stick with a technique ahead of Saturday’s match where it could be possible (if picked in C1s) that a batting promotion will be on the cards. I probably felt after tonight, I can keep myself in cotton wool until Saturday so that I can bowl the kind of heavy balls I delivered on Tuesday.

Only Rory Hustler, Don Kieu, and I attended the session where each of us got 20 minutes with Trent English coaching us and feeding the balls into the bowling machine. While I was able to sort out my grip and stance that allowed me to deal with both the good length and the pitched up deliveries, I needed a back and across movement to deal with the short stuff. So I tried to premeditate this movement while facing Don, who bowled mediums and offies with mixed results. While I was talking to Trent at the end of the session regarding my last innings, I realized that while I had batted out of my crease with the intent to get forward, it also helped me to attack the short pitch bowling. Moving forward, my setup would involve me batting outside my crease with quicker bowlers. Obviously, if the keeper stands up to the stumps, I’ll have to retreat.

After batting, I bowled to Don and again bowled the same deliveries like I did yesterday except obviously training indoors meant more vertical bounce. I did wonder though if I was bowling too short but when I measured the length after bowling later, It was about 5-6m which was technically still good length. Despite the end result, I still was able to run in and bowl the same delivery again and again in spite of being a little tired as I had already batted.

I am grateful that both my batting and bowling are in excellent order ahead of a crucial weekend. There had been some talk of me moving up to 2nd XI following my heroics, but I am confident that Max Clarke would make sure that I was in his side.

December 7 2019

I was to play in C1s and arrived late, having had to pick up my phone from Coles, having left it behind earlier in the day for shopping. By the time we arrived, we had won the toss and batted. Seeing my name in the book to go in at Number 5 meant that I’ll have to pad up, which I did. While waiting to bat, I suffered from the attack of the nerves, which prompted multiple toilet breaks, and I never recovered when I went in to bat at 3 for 26 on a very helpful bowling wicket. I initially took guard outside my crease. But I was up against both Ben Slimming and Giles Hogben, who beat me for pace. I played and missed a few deliveries and got dropped but couldn’t score a run.

I then decided to try to camp back in my crease and started feeling a bit more relaxed, but I then played on to my stumps via the glove. I have gone from hero to zero in one innings. I was disappointed.

The innings fell away very quickly. Lachlan Faull couldn’t respond in time for a quick single; Jacob Leak was also caught and bowled by Slimming and then Charlie Keeves was caught trying to work a ball on the leg side. We were 7 for 40 and Slimming finished with 5/13 off his 9 overs. We were ultimately all out for 69 in the 35th over despite the efforts of Yogesh Thakur, who top-scored with 14 at number 9 and Sam Knight, who watched wickets fall around him before he was (controversially) caught off a massive full toss about chest height for 12.

Max was obviously disappointed but wanted us to try to make the chase as difficult as possible. Yogesh got us to a perfect start bowling James Sutter and Adhyanth Rajesh. After a few overs in which he rapped the pads countless times but with no luck, he bowled a long hop at Jason Scroop who slapped a catch straight to Lachlan at point. Then Bikram Passi who earlier whipped a full ball off Max for six, was also cleaned up by Yogesh. They were 4 for 37. Game on. Yogesh sadly couldn’t get the elusive five-wicket bag and finished with 4/26 off his 9 overs. Considering, on debut two weeks ago (last week was the test match so no cricket), he took 3/8 off 8 overs. Immediately this guy has made an impact and could well be on track to win the Best Rookie award (if there was one). So he should. He went from LO5s to C1s and now he might be within touching distance of B1s.

However, the efforts of Harshil Shah and Hugh Varrell sniffed out any faints hopes of a win for us with a partnership of 65. They had already eclipsed our 69, but we had to play on. Apparently, in the two-day grades, every run and wicket counts, which may be the deciding factor for playoff qualification if multiple teams are tied on points. This was no different from what I experienced in Perth. If it wasn’t for that rule, I wouldn’t have been able to come on and bowl just before drinks.

I had bowled a maiden, and two overs later, I broke that partnership. I got a ball to slightly swinging into Varrell, who chipped a catch straight to Michael Hackman at cover. I felt a bit better; I got a wicket, continuing a streak of 14 matches since I went wicketless. Max trapped Shah LBW without any further addition to the score before Hards tried to whip a ball that pitched outside leg to the leg side (as it should), but I might have swung away from a touch, which was why it hung high in the air. Thankfully Yogesh, who earlier spilled a skier off Hackers, this time took the catch. I had my second even better and finished with figures of 5-1-14-2. Max asked me to take a break to bring me back on at the end.

It never happened. Dan Mosey came on and took the last three wickets. Slimming, out LBW as he walked across to a yorker. Zachary Robey (who apparently played for Adelaide District Cricket Club and bowled well earlier today) chipped a catch at Eddie fielding a mid-off two balls later. In came Jasmine Earl, a rare female participant in the Mens competition (but also plays in Sturt’s 1st grade Women’s team) came in and tried to work Mose across the line and chipped a dolly of a catch to me. Having bowled crap earlier, Mose finished with 3/30 off 5.5 overs. He firmly believes that he’s on a hat-trick next game. While it’s not uncommon to be on hat-trick across two innings of the same two-day match, technically there’s no such thing as being on a hat-trick across games. So he’s dreaming.

Goodwood was bowled out for 115, which meant we only lost by 47 runs. We were entirely out of our depth with the bat and lost the game with it as a result, and it was of no surprise that some of us (myself included) were immediately looking forward to the two-day match starting next weekend. After an impressive batting effort, I was disappointed not to make runs and needed some work to prevent another batting slump. I’ve just ended one last game. I don’t want to go through this again. I need help, and thankfully, I’m meeting Luke very soon on Friday. I hope he might be able to find faults in my technique so that it can be corrected.

Nevertheless, I was happy to finish the game off well with a catch and two wickets. My bowling is going really well for some time. Now I need to fix my batting so that I enjoy a similar consistency.

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